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Canceled school bus route nearly leaves kids walking in street

By David Self Newlin | Posted - Jul 15th, 2013 @ 4:38pm



LAYTON — Parents along the Layton/Syracuse border were concerned to hear, just two weeks before school starts, that the bus picking up their children for school at Sand Springs Elementary was going to be canceled. That could have forced dozens of children to walk in the road along a busy street to get to school.

The Indian Springs subdivision in Layton and the Harmony Bluff subdivision in Syracuse are relatively new. Many young families have moved in, leading to a lot of changes; among them, congestion along Gentile Street. But not everything has kept pace with the growth. There's still a section along the road that has no sidewalks.

For many of the 60 or so kids who ride the bus in the area, including Lara Mountford's first grader and kindergartener, that would have meant either crossing a 40 mph road without a crosswalk, or walking in the street with their backs to the traffic.

"We don't want to let our kids walking in the road," she said. "We've taught them better than that."

Lara and other parents reached out to district and city leaders with their concerns over the last week and the district has agreed to keep the route running for another year, according to district spokesperson Chris Williams.

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Without keeping that service around, even though the district is not required to do so for kids who live within a mile and a half, there could have been dozens of kids in the road or running across the street every morning and afternoon.

According to Alan Moss, traffic engineer for Layton City, it sometimes takes more than a year to get a sidewalk put in, especially in an area where irrigation runs beside the street. The area can't be tampered with during irrigation season.

"We don't want to see them walking where it's not safe, but we just have to have more notice," Moss said. He said with the extra year of buses running, they should be able to navigate the budgetary and administrative concerns and get a sidewalk or crosswalk in the area for the safety of the children.

Mountford said she and several other parents would carry forward with a meeting between themselves, city and district officials in order to make sure the communication lines are open and problems like this don't happen in the future.

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